The Arinoka Parlors
An Arinoka Parlor is an establishment that offers access to the CogNet to people who do not have home access... or a home. The most common parlors have a foyer/security area, a main office, a node, and a number of booths. These booths all have S3 rigs, allowing for people to experience full immersion in the CogNet. The booths are all slaved to the parlor node, and the person running the parlor has the ability to control when, where, and what a user does while in a booth. The parlor is synonymous with Petroleum era internet cafes.
The vast majority of Arinoka parlors, often just called arinokis or anglicized into arcades, are located in the slums and geofronts near or under arcologies. Many of the residents of these areas are poor to destitute, and dependent on good will and garbage sorting from the megacities above them.
There are several unofficial types of arinokas. The most common are 'gray', being benign in nature, but have questionable or illegal access to the net. Most people who use these are just trying to get a brief escape from their dour lives, or looking to turn some time at a terminal into some online currency. Security sweeps generally ignore these gray parlors unless they are being used by wanted criminals or start digging into hacker territory. Most parlor owners make sure their clients aren't cybercriminals, and have preferred lists of customers and users.
'White Terminal' arinokas are more akin to the computer services offered by public libraries in the Petroleum Era. The machines are maintained and operated by some arco-side company, group, or charity, and are completely legitimate. They are also routinely monitored, have controlled access to the CogNet, and might require the user to supply feedback on commercial content, read and pass a user test (related to the group providing the terminal), and almost all white arinokas have third or fourth hand equipment, and despite being regularly repaired, is often in some sort of damage.
'Black Terminal' arinokas are illegal, and their content is illicit, and they are routinely hunted out by cybersecurity agencies. These parlors exist for the use by underground hackers, counterculture terrorists, and people who are interested in access to black feeds. Black feeds are notorious for snuff, depraved pornography, and other acts that are illegal. This differs from the fantasy simulations of murder and depraved porn, these are more often immersive recordings of the actual acts being depicted, and in some parts of the world, there are industries devoted to providing material for the black feed.
Who Uses These?
The most common arinoka user is a homeless, or demi-homeless person who lives in the shadows of the arcologies. The bulk of these people live lives of grinding boredom and poverty. The geofronts and the slums have rudimentary barter and exchange economies, shells of what existed before. There aren't jobs to get up and out of the slums, just gambling, drugs, and seeking any sort of distraction. Most have access to food and water through the food dispensary and access to welfare level medical care. The average user is logging into their virtual life online, which is a far cry from the often red lit monochrome life they live. For some its porn, for some it's MMORPG games, for others its any outlet they can get for as little as possible.
There are also Arinoka Grinders, people who do not use the S3 rigs for distraction, but to make something of themselves. These industrious often young people are looking to find a virtual job and to work the system in their favor. The grinders play games for profit, and engage in currency exchanges, and do bounty work for other parties. Having no social obligations, many grinders are able to play their games for days on end, with chemical stimulants. When they do come up from the depths of the dungeons or the fringes of known space, they are high level, heavily armed, and have epic and rare loot. Some seek to leverage themselves out of the geofronts and favelas, and into the arcos. Others just want to have a slightly better life and better drugs where they live and are familiar with.
Criminals and hackers like to use arinokas for their hacking, they are already virtually anonymous, and by using an illegal access method, tracing them back to their source is difficult. If they are traced back, most have no compunction about leaving before authorities arrive, and if the parlor is destroyed in the process, its no issue to them.
Finding an arinoka is relatively simple, it just requires finding a densely packed section of the slums that has some sort of interesting name, the harmonica district, the rack, the tenderloin, and is an economic center. The arinokas will be found there, snaking their illegal connections up into the underbelly of the arcos. Most arinokas have narrow frontage, the entrance on a few feet wide, a few access doors, and then the bulk of the parlor expands into the backside of the building or sector it is built into. They are found squished between and behind bars, bodegas, junk markets, next to clocksmith shops, and so forth. A few flashing lights, a digital sign, maybe a bright graphic, these are the indicators that on the other side of the shabby door and corridor, there is a digital oasis awaiting the next customer.
There is typically a common room or foyer where clients pay for their time in the booth, as well as what passes for concessions, energy drinks, snack foods, sometimes illegal drugs and stimulants. Some have restrooms, others specifically don't just so the customers have a reason to break up a multi hour binge session.
The common room is a place to encounter NPCs, other customers waiting for their turn in the booth, a shady technician who is there to fix something, a hacker casing the joint and scanning it's connection with his own equipment, a cybersecurity agent working undercover, a person of interest who frequents the place for their own reasons, criminals who like to rob patrons after they jack into the net, and such.
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? Responses (1)-1
5/5 Grade A scras. This gets my highest score 5 for utility/5 for art. Well done!